In what has become a disappointing theme for sports games in general this year, FIFA 21 is taking small steps to improve its base game on the pitch, but is largely disappointed with it, making very few big changes this time around. Of course, the moment-to-moment action is as fluid as it has been in recent years, but a lack of real investment in Career mode and only slight changes to its other main modes feels like a series of missed opportunities. Incidentally, this is something that FIFA 21 goalkeepers know a lot when trying to make a save in this game. Every Esports Ray FIFA Ever game review on the surface, these changes are hard to spot. There aren’t any of the usual great features to talk about, such as the new decorated room systems or the introduction of the timed finish that have popped up in recent years. But the more time you spend with it, the more you realize how many small changes have been made, most of them beneficial. On the one hand, EA seems to have hit a sweet spot with the pace of gameplay this year, with smooth matches and, most importantly, the speed of players feeling appropriate compared to their actual counterparts. . Not all forwards can leave a scruffy defender in their wake this year, but some stars like Kylian Mbappe can – which is just as it should be. Inconsistent pace has been one of my main criticisms of FIFA over the past couple of years, so it’s a very welcome sight to see that equalized this year. EA seems to have hit a sweet spot with the pace of gameplay this year. Just getting past your opponents isn’t the answer, however, becoming a passing master will be the key. Fortunately, it won’t take too long to complete, as moving your way through the field seems as easy as ever. Almost too simple, as you create playing triangles towards the opponent’s area until a goal sight appears. Sometimes it seems too easy to make openings with killer balls played too often with ease and requiring little skill or vision to succeed. This, combined with the greatly improved positional intelligence of the AI attackers and the ability to now tell them where you want them to run with a simple click of the right stick, leads to plenty of opportunities to score in. 90 minutes. More often than not, those opportunities will turn into goals, in large part due to the sad posted goalie. Goalkeepers rarely hold a ball from crosses and corners and tend to hit and beat the ball 99 times out of 100, with even some of the best stopper in the world apparently suffering from feverish dreams where their hands melt in front of their eyes when a bullet enters their vicinity. Then there’s the rebounding shots you’d like to think a world-class goalie like Alisson could catch easily, which usually deflect into the path of an attacker waiting to be brought home. Maybe I’m just cursed with bad luck, but it tends to happen too often to be purely the work of the football gods.The best shot blockers in the world apparently suffer from fever dreams where their hands melt in front of their eyes when a balloon enters their neighborhood. “A contributing factor to this may be that while the attacking AI has improved in terms of position, the same cannot be said of defenders. While they seem to come alive around the edge of the box when a hit comes in (I’ve seen a noticeable increase in the number of players realistically throwing their bodies towards shots in order to block), they seem too player-dependent. . putting everyone in position, which can be ruthless at times. I love to defend, but I’m not sure FIFA 21 is a game for players like me, with clean sheets at a premium price. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t like it; the new collision system allows for more robust challenges and the slide tackles allow you to gain regular possession of the ball, rather than the ball ricocheting too far off the field. Making a bold defensive move offers a high risk factor, maybe as it should, but I just wish I had a little more help from players that I can’t control sometimes. For example, if I want to get a defender out to shut down an attacker, I would like my central defender to come cover if he can beat me one on one. However, this rarely happens and attackers get into the goal too easily. One area that has only seen improvement, however, is the crossing – and the heading in particular. No more FIFA 20 head shots that rushed into the stands of the players’ seemingly cubic front. Throwing a ball from the outside towards an attacker now feels like a real scoring tactic rather than the low odds lottery it has done in previous seasons. It’s nice to create a variety of scoring opportunities during a match and not just constantly passing balls to quick forwards, even if the goalkeeper will ultimately have no answer to any of these questions. that are asked to him. and FUTTweaks have also been made off the pitch with changes to many FIFA modes. There aren’t any huge additions this year like the introduction of Volta in FIFA 20, but there have been tweaks to each that add a bit more oomph. Volta, for example, comes with The Debut, a short two to three hour single player mode that serves as a reintroduction to the street side of football. Calling it a story mode would glorify it a bit as it offers very little engaging storyline but serves as a way to display the five new arena locations. It’s very cheesy but serves its purpose of giving you back to Volta. . “You’ll play matches against icons everywhere, from Sao Paulo to Sydney, and take on legends in skill challenges. On one special occasion, you will face and defeat Kaka (one of the most explosive ball carriers I have ever seen) in a dribbling competition. It’s very cheesy but serves its purpose of giving you a reason to come back to Volta. Another addition to Volta is the ability to now play co-op online with friends, which was surprisingly lacking in FIFA 20. Overall, however, Volta is very similar to last year, and given that it’s is a fashion that I did not feel. the need to play a lot last year outside of my first week, I also don’t see that it would rob me of other FIFA modes time this year, but some of those modes also don’t do a great job to attract attention. . Things looked promising when EA announced big changes will be made to FIFA 21’s Career Mode, but sadly it’s not quite the full facelift that I was hoping for. A few fun new additions have been made but not enough to bring what was the game’s flagship mode back to its full glory.The interactive match simulation option is probably the most impressive of all the features, although a similar concept has existed. in Madden for a good few years now. The ability to watch the game develop from a 2D bird’s eye viewpoint fills me with nostalgia, a veteran Football Manager, and is a great way to progress quickly through the seasons and those cold and cold nights. rainy in Stoke. You can see how quickly you can move from that vantage point to taking control of your players if the match doesn’t go the way you expected – this process is almost seamless and really impressive. interactive match is probably the most impressive of all. “New systems for training and player development are also borrowed from the Football Manager series. Being able to do practice sessions with your players to improve the sharpness of their game is a fun idea at first, but I quickly got bored. Playing these glorified tutorial sections in order to get a negligible amount of stat boosts didn’t do much for me, and I quickly found myself faking them at every opportunity instead. Player development options allow for more variety and are the closest. Career mode is all about putting yourself in the shoes of a head coach. I have played with these systems and have been pleasantly surprised at the positive results that can be achieved. For example, playing as Tottenham, I changed Eric Dier’s position from CDM to CB, a decision that only took him two weeks to process and changed his overall rating from 78 to 82. I’m a huge fan of this system and can’t wait to put it into practice more, whether it’s making some interesting changes like making Trent Alexander-Arnold the midfielder playmaker he could be or completely become go crazy with him and turn Neymar into a tough central defender. Ok, maybe that’s going a bit too far. But you can do terrible things like that if you want to, and that’s cool. Despite these few fun changes to Career mode, most of the stuff is still pretty largely stagnant. “Despite these few fun changes to Career mode, most of the stuff is still pretty largely stagnant. The same UI and layout still exists, along with the endless transfer negotiation scenes played out by lifeless versions,” Madame Tussaud, players and managers. This is a step in the right direction, but not big enough to satisfy my wishes on what career mode might be. Clearly, career mode is not the goal EA, and why would it be when Ultimate Team brings in the playerbase and revenue it makes? FUT is a beast in its own right and has also received a few changes this year without rewriting the playbook. These include quality of life improvements, such as the long-awaited removal of fitness cards so that you can now fully customize your stadium with images and sounds of your choice. fan of the latter, which should hopefully help each club feel different from each other. Microtransaction Reaction One thing that hasn’t changed are microtransactions. In short, microtransactions always seem to be a problem in FUT 21 with their inherent pay-to-win nature. Card packs are still available and people will definitely continue to buy them (with packs costing between £ 0.33 / $ 0.42 and £ 16.66 / $ 20.83 each) – and EA has said it did not plan to change his approach to “surprise mechanics” unless the laws were passed. Small steps were taken last year when it comes to cards: Icons will now cost less in the transfer market, but the chances of getting one via a pack are still ridiculously low. So, so far, very little progress has been made on this front, but who knows? Maybe when FIFA 22 arrives things may have changed with the new generation of consoles. There’s also the introduction of FUT Co-op, which lets you experience both Division Rivals and Squad Battles and share the joy of eagerly opening a pack to see an Ashley Barnes ranked 77 map. watching you. Granted, I’ve fallen out of Ultimate Team in recent years, but my favorite way of playing FIFA is teaming up with friends in co-op seasons or pro clubs, so this new addition to FUT might be what puts me back. in question. Speaking of professional clubs, it is now possible to fully customize your team of players. It’s a small, but much loved, feature that I can’t wait to find my way around.